He will stand down next year, but while the hunt for a successor drags on, Sir David is no lame duck.
Since announcing his retirement, Sir David has become noticeably more outspoken, publicly lambasting the Government for wasting time over key NHS reforms, claiming competition rules are harming efforts to improve patient care and saying he was ‘incensed’ by media coverage of GPs.
He is also possessed of a steely determination to see through the reforms that began under his watch. And to shake off widespread criticism after ‘becoming the story’ in the wake of the Francis report into the Mid Staffs scandal. This led him to publicly apologise for overseeing a period as SHA chief executive when death rates at the failing hospital were found to be too high.
Not that David Nicholson he is likely to be forgotten in any case. GPs will continue to labour under the ‘challenge’ that bears his name – to find £20 billion in ‘efficiency savings’ by 2015.
Click here for more influential non-GPs
Click here for the Pulse Power 50